If you’re looking for a fun and rewarding gardening project, growing tomatoes is a great place to start. Tomatoes are relatively easy to grow and can be grown both inside and outside, making them a versatile addition to any garden. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know to successfully grow tomatoes, including how to grow tomatoes upside down!
Growing tomatoes is one of my favorite things to grow in my garden. It’s such a great fruit to have since it can be used in so many ways and there are so many different varieties that you could grow an entire garden of nothing but tomatoes and never get bored.
Growing tomatoes is also one of the fruits and vegetables that seem as if they have many different secrets to growing them successfully. To get started though, you simple need a few tips for growing the best tomatoes and to know where you’re planting your tomato plants and how you’re growing them.
How to Choose the Right Tomato Varieties to Grow
The first step in growing tomatoes is to choose the right varieties. There are many different types of tomatoes, including heirloom, cherry, beefsteak, and roma. When choosing your tomato varieties, it’s important to consider the growing conditions you have available. Some varieties; specifically indeterminate tomatoes, are better suited for indoor growing, while others thrive outdoors in full sun.
Personally, we don’t eat a lot of tomatoes as slices, but we do eat them as stewed, diced and in paste/sauce recipes. Because of this, we grow a lot of Roma tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes and whatever else happens to look tasty.
If you’re planning to grow tomatoes outside, beefsteak tomatoes are a popular choice. They require a lot of sun and space to grow, but the results are worth it.
Growing Tomatoes Inside: Tips and Tricks
Growing tomatoes inside is a fantastic option for those who don’t have a whole lot of room to grow a garden, but still want to provide themselves with fresh and healthy food.
Tomato plants grown inside do require a bit more care and attention than growing them outside, but the results can be just as rewarding.
Start with the right soil:
Tomatoes need well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter. You can purchase potting soil specifically designed for tomatoes or make your own by mixing equal parts compost, perlite, and peat moss.
The ideal soil PH for tomatoes is 6.0 to 6.8, but they will grow in soil that is slightly more acidic down to a 4.3. In order to be sure your garden soil is mixed right and you’re in the correct PH range for them, use a soil PH tester.
Choose the right container:
Tomatoes grow well in containers that are at least 18 inch deep and wide. Make sure your container has drainage holes to prevent water from pooling at the bottom.
Provide plenty of light:
Tomatoes need at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. If you don’t have access to natural light, you can use plant grow lights to provide the necessary light. I personally prefer THESE because I can change which light they’re receiving and because of the ability to move the light around as I see fit.
Consistent light is especially important during the germination stage so your plants get off to a good start.
Tomatoes need consistent soil moisture, but they don’t like to sit in wet soil. Water your tomato plants when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
Again, consistent watering is important, but be mindful not to overwater.
Tomatoes are heavy feeders and require regular fertilization. You can use a balanced fertilizer every two weeks or use a slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season.
Growing Tomatoes Outside: Tips and Tricks
Growing tomatoes outside is a bit easier than growing them inside, but there are still some important tips and tricks to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you grow healthy tomato plants outdoors:
Choose the right location:
Tomatoes need full sun to grow and produce fruit. Choose a location in your garden that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. As I mentioned above, light is incredibly important to your tomatoes; especially if you direct sow your tomato seeds instead of starting them indoors.
Prepare the soil:
Tomatoes need well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter and nutrients like calcium, potassium and nitrogen. Work compost or other organic matter into the soil before planting.
If your soil is lacking in potassium, soak a banana peel or two in water for a few days and mix the whole jar into the soil. Grass clippings are fantastic for adding to soil that is nitrogen deficient b/c of how much nitrogen they contain.
Water deeply and consistently:
Tomatoes need consistent moisture, but they don’t like to sit in wet soil. Water your tomato plants deeply once a week, or more often during hot, dry weather.
As I’ve already mentioned, tomatoes are heavy feeders and require regular fertilization. This is an important step that you won’t want to skip; especially when you’re growing in soil that may not be ideal.
Growing Tomatoes Upside Down
Did you know you can learn how to grow tomatoes upside down? Yes! You can!
Growing tomatoes upside down is a unique and fun way to grow tomatoes. It’s also a great option if you’re short on space or are simply trying to maximize the space you have.
Keeping that in mind, upside tomato planting is not good for all varieties. Since an upside down plant does not require caging or staking, you ill want to keep this method for smaller fruits. If they are too heavy, the vine will not be able to support the main stem and ripe tomatoes later on.
Planting tomatoes upside down will require that you plant a starter plant and do not direct sow.
Choose the right container:
You’ll need a container that can hang upside down and support the weight of the tomato plant. You can purchase a specialized upside-down tomato planter or make your own by drilling a large hole in the bottom of a five-gallon bucket.
THIS is a good set to use for your drill when you do this.
Fill the container:
Put the lid on the bucket and fill the container with well-draining potting soil using the hole you drilled. Again, you should ensure your soil has the proper PH balance before continuing and that you do not pack the soil into the bucket or planter too tightly.
A loose fill is fine as you can top it off later.
Plant the tomato:
Hang the planter in your chosen spot. Then, carefully so you do not damage the plant starter, place the tomato plant into the hole making sure to plant the roots deeply.
Yes, you will be working the plant into the bucket while it is hanging upside down. Your plant should hang from the bottom of the bucket or planter.
Plant the Top of the Bucket:
Once the tomato starter is seated properly, plant basil seeds or seedlings in the top of the bucket up by the handle. Basil and tomatoes are great companion plants and doing this will not only maximize your growing space, but will also help both plants to grow fuller and more bountiful.
Water and fertilize:
Water the tomato plant regularly and fertilize as needed. Upside-down tomato plants can dry out more quickly than traditional plants, so make sure to keep an eye on the moisture level.
You should water the plant initially deeply and always make sure water runs from the bottom of the bucket or planter so ensure the water reached the roots.
Watch for pests and diseases:
Tomato plants are susceptible to a variety of insects and diseases. This can include blossom end rot, early blight, late blight, tomato hornworms and more. Keep an eye out for any signs of trouble and address them promptly.
Growing tomatoes can be a fun and rewarding experience. Whether you’re growing tomatoes inside, outside, upside down, there are a few key tips and tricks to keep in mind. Choose the right varieties, provide plenty of support, and make sure to water and fertilize regularly. With a little care and attention, you’ll be enjoying delicious, homegrown tomatoes in no time.